Drownings at the Shore are a Recurring Problem
Every year news reports fill the airwaves with reports of after-hours drownings at the Jersey shore. Drownings occurred in Bradley Beach and Asbury Park last summer as well as in a number of other shore communities. The lure of the ocean on a hot night is strong enough to entice bathers to risk entering the unguarded waters.
Many people swim in the dark to avoid paying the beach fees, while others do it because they want to escape the heat. Unfortunately, swimmers may encounter a rip tide and have no idea how to escape from the treacherous currents. (You may escape by swimming parallel to the shore until you are beyond the grasp of the water.) Swimmers may panic, or become exhausted, and in no time may be swept out to sea. Regardless of the reasons why swimmers enter the ocean after hours, they do so at their own risk.
Assumption of the risk is a legal doctrine that puts the consequences of an action on the person who took the action. Blaming a person for his/her own injury is not a valid defense in a normal negligence action. But in certain personal injury claims, the person doing the act is indeed to blame. For example, if you sit in the stands at a baseball stadium and are hit by a ball, you usually will be found to have assumed the risk of your injury. In other words, when you bought the ticket and took your seat, you did so understanding that a ball may hit you, but you took the seat anyway. Similarly, if you go to the beach and swim after hours and something bad happens, you assume the risk of injury and cannot sue anyone else for the outcome if you are injured.
Before coming to conclusions about who is responsible for your injuries, it is important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you understand all the issues that impact your ability to sue and collect for damages.